Hmmmm, I will start this off as it was an epic event. I was talked into it by a friend….got a mountain bike in December, already had a kayak, and LOVE trail running on the off season so why not, right?! Uhm, maybe b/c it was the 3rd week in a row I was racing and it was certainly going to take me 3-4 hours but again it’s off season. I’ve taken this off season with a totally different approach this year, do a race if it tickles my fancy, and do it for FUN!!!! Don’t care about the times, care about the journey.
EVERYONE was super friendly from the moment I got there, met some people that I’d never seen in person, hung out with the twins (Laura and Jan) who’ve become my partners in crime in some events over the past years. Those girls have helped me through some uncomfortable days to say the least.
Back to the race, the water was super calm which was different from years prior, but I’m not one to count my chickens before they’re hatched so I didn’t count on it for when we finally hit the paddling part. The weather temp was perfect, warming up as the day went on. I had Outspokin work on my bike since I’m clearly a novice to mtn bike maintenance. They were nice enough to give me a quick overview of how to fix things.
Race time was about to begin, I felt clueless. I’ve had a bad habit lately of not taking the time to do my recognizance about the race prior (changing effectively immediately!) so literally wasn’t sure of the terrain too much, barely remembered distances of each leg, but I was going to do this and have fun.
Luckily David (Jan’s hubby) was doing the full triathlon with me, and we actually ran together most the way, by mile 2 right before transition, some guy informed me I was 2nd overall female …..kind of like Ironman I knew it was a long day and that probably wouldn’t last. 5 seconds later I’m in the portoletJ. Girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! I was close to peeing myself. The next 5 miles weren’t tough terrain, a few mud holes but not awful. I’ve had some allergy issues and had to walk once every mile but it was certainly a fun technical course the first 2 miles with some open trail roads and combo of single track technical portions (my fav) later over the last 5 miles. I was totally ready for the run to be done, my lungs felt like they were going to implode any moment. Yes, I was still smiling and still having fun though.
I bypassed transition and went straight to my kayak, only stopping for a mere second to think back to my 3.5 mile kayak weeks ago that left my arms dead and sore wondering how I was going to do this. This was my best thought at the time, because then I look out and the wind had picked up, white caps were obvious, and I thought HOLY **** what am I doing. Oddly enough you circle around this lake 3x doing 2 mile loops, and I found the rougher the water the better I did. The turnaround was where I was just so done that the only perk was that I had the wind at my back. I may have stopped to take a pic or two…see below. I will say, what got me through what I deemed the hardest part of the race was the PURE and UTTER BEAUTY of it. Simply amazing.
Getting out of the kayak I had been warned that I’d be cramped and have a hard time walking, UNDERSTATEMENT! I WAS THRILLED to get to the mountain bike and be using some different muscles. Remember the technical portion of the run, yep, we mountain biked that. Talk about fun! Jumping logs, weaving around corners, dodging branches….what I LOVE about mountain biking and the thrill of it all. The pure focus it takes like trail running yet a little more. Some of the bike was on the dirt roads which I’m not so much a fan of, and I will say I did a “hike a bike” one time where it was a quick descent up to an ascent and rounded a steep curve with huge dropoff….I might have cursed. I didn’t fall once though. The only thing I would’ve like to have was aero bars, my arms were so trashed from that kayak I literally could barely hold myself up on that mountain bike. I crossed that finish line wiped. Not too bad for a first timer who did not train properly (purely my fault). By the way, I was so proud I created a Rebel Rack that quickly filled:)
Would I do it again, that day ….NO. Like Ironman though, I reminisce of the fun had that day, the differences that make it so appealing, and the challenge to do so much better and I’m ready to register for another. The pictures captured that day from the deer crossing right behind a runner on the trail, to the kayak portion, and what I’d call the Achilles Kill hill were amazing. The venue was beautiful, and was done on someone’s personal farm (Dome Farms) and just a nice home town feel. I really did like it, and hope you check out some of these cool photos no facebook and think about expanding your horizons and trying some new things. Go to Facebook and search for Winter Challenge Off Road Triathlon to view their awesome pics.
BTW, my fun sporadic racing will officially be over after tomorrows half marathon in my hometown. Time to get to structured organized racing, and make sure this old body gets the recovery and attention it needs for a great set up of races this year along with more focused training. Major goals require major commitment, and I’m happy I’m starting it out exhausted and satisfied to get the random countless “fun” races I usually do during race season and instead chose to do on the off season this year. Less racing will hopefully equal better results allowing more personal focus.
I’m thankful to have the support of www.Trisports.com (going on 9 years, let me know if you’d like a 20% one time use coupon), www.Powerbar.com going on 7 years (such a wide variety of products to offer), Atlanta Bread Co. at Cherrydale going on 9 years (www.atlantabread.com ), Barracuda Goggles going on 9 years (http://www.barracudausa.com/c/goggles ), and Nuun going on 7 years(http://nuun.com/ ) making some outstanding hydration products. Check out these companies, and let me know if you’d like to try any flavors or possibly get discounts somewhere.